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Fraudsters seek to exploit Notre-Dame tragedy, says report

April 17, 19:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

US cyber security company ZeroFOX recommended social media users "be cautious of unfamiliar individuals or organizations soliciting donations or investments through social media, email, or phone"

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© REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Online fraudsters seek to profit from the shocking fire at Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, the US cyber security company ZeroFOX said in a report.

"Whether through spreading misinformation about the disaster, creating fake donation pages, or launching new phishing campaigns, these bad actors target emotionally charged social-media users eager to help, hoping to amplify fraudulent efforts through the viral nature of social media and its potential to reach a broader audience via posts that share false information or solicit payment under the guise of relief-related donations," the report reads. "Given the fire’s proximity to the Easter holiday, the circumstances of this event comprise the perfect storm of potential for fraudsters seeking fast, lucrative returns," ZeroFOX noted.

"Social media users looking to take advantage of viral events will include trending hashtags in their posts - despite the irrelevance of the content they are sharing to the viral event," the report adds.

"One of the major ways bad actors look to capitalize on tragedies like this one is through crowdfunding sites. Playing on the goodwill of charitable givers, cyber attackers create fake donation sites that look almost indistinguishable from true charities. People looking to donate quickly may easily mistake a fraudulent donation page for the real page - losing their money and putting money in the hands of bad actors, not those in need," the company pointed out.

ZeroFOX recommended users "be cautious of unfamiliar individuals or organizations soliciting donations or investments through social media, email, or phone" and "conduct thorough research on charity organizations and use a website that rates organizations."

The fire at the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral broke out on the evening of April 15. Due to fierce blaze, the building’s spire and most of the roof collapsed. According to preliminary information, the fire is believed to have been sparked by the ongoing renovation works on a higher level of the cathedral. A firefighter suffered injuries while combating the blaze.

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